What is Feminism?

Surprisingly, feminism and capoeira have quite a number of things in common.  They are both movements of resistance that grew out of oppression; they have both undergone and continue to undergo many changes and transformations; and they are both widely misunderstood and misrepresented around the world.  At least for capoeira, capoeiristas know what it is; not all females even know what feminism is.

Too often, feminism is accused of being or thought to be something it’s not.  Let’s clear things up first.  What is feminism not?

Feminism is not:

  • misandry (the hating of men)
  • bra-burning/non-shaving/other like extreme stereotypes
  • lesbianism
  • “reverse sexism”
  • female chauvinism (thinking women are superior to men, or being a woman who emulates male chauvinism)
  • advocating a matriarchal world (although technically, you’d think we should have 2000 years of matriarchy after 2000 years of patriarchy to make things completely equal–but ahh, you can’t win ’em all)

It’s true that some of the above things may coincide or dovetail with feminism, but that doesn’t mean they are what feminism is.

So, what is feminism?

Well, there are two ways one could go about doing this.  The first is based on this introductory sentence from Wikipedia’s article on feminism:

Feminism comprises a number of social, cultural and political movements, theories and moral philosophies concerned with gender inequalities and equal rights for women.

Now, we could spend a lot more time than you’d probably care to going through each major social movement, cultural movement, political theory, and moral philosophy.  Then, we’d have to deal with counter-arguments, and counter-counter-arguments, and in the end they would probably all cancel each other out anyway. 

Or, we could keep things simple and direct, and cut straight to the heart of the issue.  What is feminism?

This is what feminism is.

That’s it.

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